Home Demolitions Are Rapidly Erasing Palestinian Livelihoods

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Palestinian livelihoods are under even greater threat as the number of home demolitions has risen significantly in the last year.

Palestinian girl stands amid ruins after home demolished

Only four months into 2016 and the Israeli government has already made a crucial dent in Palestinian life. According to a UN tally, the Israeli Civil Administration carried out a mass of demolitions across the West Bank that destroyed nearly 600 buildings and displaced over 800 Palestinians — a total drastically higher than 2015’s statistics.

Demolitions have soared by over 200 percent since the beginning of the year with 165 structures destroyed in January and 235 smashed to bits in February, according to Reuters.

Israel insists the structures were illegally built, yet the justification remains ludicrous given it is nearly impossible for a Palestinian to obtain a construction permit due to Israel’s occupation.

The head of Israel's military government in the West Bank recognized the clear dichotomy of treatment between Palestinian homes and illegal Israeli settlements.

“I want to state unequivocally that enforcement is more severe towards the Palestinians," General Yoav Mordechai told the Israeli parliament. "Moreover, much of the enforcement with regard to the Palestinians takes place on private Palestinian land."

Despite his acknowledgment, he seems unmoved to change policy actions.

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Just nearby the deeply-rooted Bedouin communities living in constant fear of becoming homeless are Israeli settlements — dating back only to the 1980s — with gardens, running water, and electricity. Palestinians aren’t as lucky to enjoy such luxury in their own backyard.

Regardless of the relentless pressure, Palestinians are still standing strong and steadfast against Israel’s Draconian colonization.

"We went through so many catastrophes: 1948, 1967 and now the settlements, which have taken most of our land," Suleiman Hathaleen, patriarch of Bedouin community Umm al-Khair, told Al Jazeera. "They left us with nothing. And now they want to expel us. But we will not leave."

Banner image credit: Reuters